The U.S. budget deficit came to $302 billion in July, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday.
Outlays were $564 billion during the month, down 10% from the year before but still at an unusually high level due to ongoing pandemic relief programs. At $262 billion, receipts were 54% lower than a year earlier, though much of that drop is related to the delay of the tax deadline for most filers in 2020, which caused receipts to balloon last July.
For the first 10 months of the 2021 fiscal year, the deficit totaled $2.54 trillion, down 10% from the year before. Treasury officials said the smaller deficit is driven in part by the tapering of some Covid relief efforts. The cost of enhanced unemployment benefits, for example, fell by 8% to $359 billion compared to a year earlier.
The Congressional Budget Office expects the deficit to total $3 trillion this fiscal year, down slightly from last year’s all-time high of $3.1 trillion.